Despite all its controversy, a fairly interesting insight into the world of sororities, and an even broader commentary on young college women today (coming from a sorority member myself). Part storytelling about a few main characters, part factual commentary on the state of student organizations.
This book was not really what I expected it to be. It had a lot more historical and social discussion than I had anticipated. I thought it would be written more like a memoir of the experience the writer had. It was interesting, but I did occasionally find myself getting bored. It definitely had some shocking stories, and I think was occasionally biased and preachy, but overall was fairly balanced in its representation of sorority life.
I loved this book. It presented sororities and the Greek system in a well rounded and interesting manner. Through interviews with actual members of sororities, Robbins gets a first hand look at the good, bad and ugly sides of sorority life. A fascinating and interesting read.
Am investigative view of sorority life by an author who followed around sisters for one year. I found the book to be unbiased and well written. It's an interesting look from a sociology standpoint, particularly the things girls do for acceptance and following along within the group mentality without even realizing it, even if they know it is wrong or immoral.
Robbins goes undercover and writes what she is secretly told, and what she secretly observes, and then uncovers everything bad about sorority, fraternity, and greek-life.
As a sorority girl, I was interested to see what our "truth" really is. As I was reading this, I was furious at the stereotypes she claims to be sorority-wide. But, because of how angry I was, I couldn't stop reading!
A must read for sorority girls!
Interesting book to read, and I'm sure some chapters really are like her examples.. but read with an open mind!
I read this book thinking I would get some deep dark insight to sorority life, however there was nothing that suprising at all. I was not in a sorority but was familiar w/ Greek life through friends and my psuedo greek living situation. I struggled to get through the book as I was bored with it.
Great book. I always felt I missed something not going to college, and always wished I could have joined a sorority. Now I realize that the college would have been a great thing(if I could figure out what I want to major in anyway), sorority life would have probably torn me to shreds. I real eye opening book.
Don't let this fool you - this isn't a tale of everywoman's sorority experience. It's the tale of FOUR women Robbins followed over the course of a year. Binge drinking, drug use, cattiness, eating disorders - yes,while those things happen in sororities, they are not isolated to sorority women. Trust me - I saw plenty of that in my (all women) dorm.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a sorority woman. I could relate to some of the events in the book, but much of it was foreign to me. My chapter didn't have a house; however, one year I lived with some of my sisters in an off-campus apartment. I believe we would have faced many of the issues we did regardless of whether or not we were sorority sisters.
One bit that I did find interesting was Robbins' comparison of the traditionally white sororities versus the traditionally black sororities. I've often questioned why many women I meet who were intitiated into NPC groups don't consider themselves a sister after their college years; those who pledge an NPHC group are sisters for life. While the NPC groups do have national philanthropies (for which many of their events are fundraisers), the NPHC groups focus on community service. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned from the NPHC groups.
Twenty-some years after my initiation, I am still active in an alumnae chapter. I have lived across the USA and have belonged to many different alumnae chapters. Wherever I've gone, I've found me an instant family -- and like a biological family, I've had sisters who I didn't particularly care for. However, my current alumnae chapter has provided me with great friends who I can count on in good times and bad. I'm definitely proud to be a sorority woman -- and believe that it's for a lifetime. While my collegiate experience was an overall positive one, it's the alumnae experience that has taught me the value of sisterhood.
I guess I figure if only a little bit of this book is true, this is a sad book about the social relationships women create for themselves during college. As a former GDI, I wanted to hate the girls in this book and hate them all for being part of this type of organization. Yet I realize that this story plays itself out all over campuses within and outside of sororities. Calling this book non-fiction seems somewhat suspect to me, but it is an interesting read nonetheless.
If you are watching Greek on ABC Family now, you might enjoy this. I sought out this book because I read an excerpt in a magazine, and I loved it. I found it enthralling about how she went undercover to really let us know what it was like. Now, if we could only get the story behind fraternities...
A somewhat biased outsiders view on sorority life. Although she may have only reported what she saw at specific universities and chapters, she did tend to focus on the negative parts of sorority life (excessive partying, cliques, promiscuity). It was interesting to read; half the book is a fictional account of a few girls' experiences with Greek life, but it was not as well balanced as I hoped it would be. My own experiences in a sorority were not even close to the ones she described.
Carolyn H. reviewed Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities on
Helpful Score: 2
The book is hysterical and focuses entirely on large state schools, where Greek oversight is sorely lacking. Are there sororities like this? Of course. But Robbins does a great disservice by not seeking out a newly formed chapter or a chapter on a campus not overrun by Greek life, where it's a non-residential organization.
There are interesting facts within it, of course, and Robbins does capture some very accurate factors, but the women she chooses are women who go directly against their chapters' bylaws to share their view of their org: it's a little biased.
I read it before I joined a sorority, and I found it unrealistic at the time (I go to a small college where Greek life is really limited, so the descriptions of keggers was totally unrealistic on my campus). I chose to join, and I have to say: it's accurate of large schools and large chapters, sometimes. It's rarely accurate to chapters of 50 or less, at least that I've seen, though I'm sure there are exceptions.
Robbins, who previously researched Yale's Skull and Bones Society for Secrets of the Tomb and also coauthored Quarterlife Crisis, went undercover for the 2002-2003 academic year to investigate the inner workings of "Greek" (National Panhellenic Conference) sororities. Sororities are far from anachronisms; there are presently some 3.5 million women in almost 3,000 Greek chapters on campuses across America. After the national office forbade locals from cooperating with Robbins, she disguised herself as an undergrad and found four sorority women willing to risk expulsion to help her.
I have always been curious about sororities and this book provided a great "behind the scenes" of several sororities at an unnamed university. At times it is hard to keep track of the different characters, but it is entertaining and a "light read".
This book was definitely interesting and enlightening. However, I didn't actually make it through the whole thing because I just got too depressed in reading about these women's lives. Maybe some would like reading about their confusing and messy lives, but, personally, I didn't. So check it out! Maybe you'll appreciate it more than I did...
In this expose into sorority life, Robbins went undercover as an undergraduate to rush, and ultimately join, a sorority. What she found was disturbing, to say the least. She experienced an alcohol soaked, catfight-intensive life, in which young women constantly competed with one another for male attention. What is more surprising, though, is that so many of the young women in sororities seemed to be miserable. Clearly, Robbins is very, very critical of the sororities she followed in this book. That said, she's much less critical of the individual sisters. Indeed, she stresses the promising future and intelligence these women have apart from their sororities. In completing her study, Robbins surveyed both traditionally white and traditionally African-American sororities. She concludes that historically black sororities have stayed far closer to the sororities' purported missions of sisterhood, philanthropy, and scholarship than have majority-white sororities. Still, she finds problems and racism in both. Overall, Pledged was a fascinating read that seemed to accomplish its goal of sympathizing with sorority sisters, while excoriating the larger organizations. Robbins ends her work with some suggestions for improving sorority life, such as delaying rush until after the freshman year so that students can experience more of college life before they decide if they want to join the Greek system. Whether these would change much, I'm not so sure, but I found this book interesting, and was especially taken with the stories of the four young women Robbins followed over the course of a year.
I really enjoyed this in-depth look at sororities. I go to a greek-heavy school and I was impressed at how deep Robbins was able to go into the workings of the sororities. This was eye-opening and even-handed.
when i read this book, i was EXTREMELY disappointed in the author.
i was a sorority member at one college, and a non-faculty advisor at a Big 10 school -- neither of my expereinces even remotely resembled the depictions in this book - even at the Big 10. its a pitty that people will read this book and take it for the truth, when in fact, its just ONE sorority, in ONE town, with ONE group of woman
Not what I was looking for. I thought it would be more stories about the 4 sorority girls and not the history and background of sororities, although intersting to read about it made for slow reading in my opinion.
I bought this because my daughter was joining a sorority. It tells about all of the bad things that happen. Luckily so far, none of this has been experienced by my daughter(at least I don't think so....). Good book for parents.
I had not heard about the controversy surrounding this book but when I picked it up, it looked interesting. I am not a sorority member--and actually never understood the entire concept. I did not find the book to be unbiased, even though I mostly agreed when the author started letting her's poke through. I did not find the book to be interesting, either. It was a chore to keep the characters straight because I did not find them interesting or engaging. Overall, I found it boring to read. Yes, I admit I was looking for a sensational slam against sority life. The author did make some important points about women and self-esteem but she could have accomplished that in a two page essay. I am happy to pass this on to someone who might get more out of it.
As a member of a sorority, I didn't see anything really ground-breaking or shocking about this book. If you were Greek in college, then many of the things that Robbins discusses in the book are "old hat". For those who weren't Greek, she gives lots of details about how sororities work, how traditionally "white" and "black" sororities are different, and traditions that non-Greeks don't know about. Robbins also deals with hazing (including hazing rituals gone wrong, in which girls died), racism, drinking, drugs, and eating disorders that are all found in sororities. However, besides hazing, are these problems any more prevalent in the Greek system than in non-Greek college students? The reader must decide for him/herself.
I would recomend this book for any young woman thinking about joining a sorority and for the parents of sorority members as well. It might be eye-opening for those who are very unfamiliar with college life in general.
I think for someone to try to give an accurate view of sorority life, it probably would have been better to observe a few different houses. to parents of college girls and college girls considering going greek, know that hazing does NOT need to happen. I am a proud phi mu. I am proud of the hazing-free history of my 154 year old sorority. i worry that a book like this, while pointing out awful things that do unfortunately happen in many houses/schools, puts a blanket description on the good, safe, treasured organizations, too.
A dishy read, but one that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of the behaviors she discusses are extremes, selected to make a good story, one that would sell books. On that count, she was successful. In providing a complete picture of Greek life, not so much.
Eye-opening and more than a little scary look at college sororities in the 21st century. I was a sorority girl in the 70's and a chapter advisor in the 80's but the tale did not look particularly familiar to me. Perhaps it's because we did not have houses on my campus, and because I dated one person from early in my freshman year. But I honestly didn't see what this book chronicles. Has collegiate life changed THAT much? Hmm.
Alexandra Robbins tells a very honest, sometimes sad story about the lives of four very different sorority sisters and their experiences of going Greek in this book. An excellent read for anyone who is considering pledging.
If this manuscript had not had the words "secret" and "sorority" in the title, it would have never made it to publication. It is not well written. If any of us went back to high school or college when we were 26 years old a lot of what happens looks pretty silly, but there would be no need to write a book about it. This book is a waste of time.
New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Robbbins spent a year undercover with a group of sorority girls. Her worst expectations were met and surpassed-extreme promiscuity, drugs, psychological abuse, racism, violence and rampant eating disorders were just a few of the problems. But even more surprising was the fact that these abuses were inflicted and endured by intelligent, successful, and attractive young women.
Pledged is an extraordinarily gripping narrative that reads like a bestselling novel. With fly-on-the-wall voyeurism and remarkable insight, Pledged is a fast-paced account that manages to both expose the dark side of sorority life and endear its participants to us...from the back of the book.
Incredible read. A.R. goes undercover in university to see the
"secret life" of these students. Awesome discoveries. As she is a journalist by profession, there is a lot of back-story provided on the life of both American college and the Greek system.